Here is my precious Mia at 5 months of age, happy because we have completed a rigorous tummy time session (that was sarcasm). We were practicing because she had started rolling in her crib and I wanted to be confident that she was building up strength to do this without frustration in her crib. I have had so many clients ask me questions about early rolling, I thought I should write about it!
Shouldn’t my baby be on her back?
Safe sleep practices have been hammered into our head from the get go. And we know young babies must be put to bed on their backs. Then all of a sudden around 5 months of age, everything changes. Your baby starts rolling from her back to her tummy and it can be very freaky. Should you roll her back? Let her work it out? Here are some tips to help you.
Ditch the swaddle
As your baby goes through this developmental milestone, it is important to ditch the swaddle so she has the freedom to practice this very important skill. Her arms and legs must be free to help her roll. Consider a sleep sack if you’re worried about your baby being cold. Babies can easily roll in a sleep sack.
It is of utmost importance that there is absolutely nothing in the crib other than a tightly fitted sheet. It can be hazardous for inexperienced rollers if they encounter blankets, stuffies or positioners while learning how to roll. Read more about Safe Sleep here.
Getting plenty of tummy time during the day will strengthen your baby’s muscles, allowing her to roll back and forth more easily. I know, I know, most babies dislike doing this activity. But a few minutes several times per day can make all the difference. Helping her practice rolling during the day with your supervision will speed up the process of your baby becoming an expert roller. It will also ease your mind, knowing she can do this in her crib when she’s alone.
Should I roll her back?
Once a baby is strong enough to roll over, it is perfectly safe to leave her as long as her crib is clear and safe. She will eventually work out which position is most comfortable for her. You can roll her back after she is asleep, if it will give you peace of mind, but chances are, she’ll roll right over again.
Babies can get frustrated (just like with any new skill) but resist the urge to go into her room and roll her back while she is awake. She needs to learn how to do it on her own and although it may take a few weeks, she’ll be an expert roller in no time. If this is disrupting her sleep, ultimate patience will probably be in order. But letting her figure it out on her own and staying consistent with your schedule and routines will bring sleep back to your house eventually.